Sample Minnesota newspaper articles, photos and ads dating back more than 140 years. Fresh items are posted weekly. Go here for tips on how to track down old newspaper articles on your own. Follow the blog on Twitter. Or check out "Minnesota Mysteries," a new book based on the blog.

E-mail your questions or suggestions to Ben Welter.

June 11, 1941: ‘Health lecturer’ arrested in Minneapolis

Posted by: Ben Welter under Minnesota History, Minnesota newsmakers, Crime Updated: March 18, 2014 - 7:53 PM
 
Russell James, described as a “health lecturer” in stories in the Minneapolis Star Journal, was arrested during one of his presentations in 1941. He was accused of claiming that Riddo, a health food product he sold, would cure a variety of ailments.  Riddo, a concoction of powdered bananas and whey, was marketed by California bodybuilder and health food advocate Paul Bragg in the early 1940s. Judging by these photos from the Star Tribune archives, James was probably a bodybuilder himself. His secretary, Ruth Cook, was no couch potato either. Hubba. Hubba.
 
Ruth Cook and her boss, Russell James, dressed appropriately for court. But photos like this don't sell papers -- or build Web traffic. It went unpublished. (Star Journal photo by Russell Bull)
 
 
This photo, also by Russell Bull, ran with the story below, with the caption: "RUSSELL JAMES AND BLOND SECRETARY, RUTH COOK: Will this 'picture of health' convince jury?"
 

Maybe Juror Can Throw
Pair of Crutches Away

One of the women in the jury of six women and six men to hear charges of practicing healing without a license against Russell James, 50, health lecturer and “Riddo” salesman, hobbled into the jury box on crutches.

According to Reginald M. Johnson, attorney for the state board of medical examiners, James claims his patients are able to throw away their crutches after using “Riddo” and practicing the form of exercises he prescribes in his health lectures.

Johnson will be the first witness called by the state when testimony in James’ trial starts before Judge Mathias Baldwin Monday.

Ernest Malmberg, attorney for James, said the health lecturer will take the stand in his own defense in an attempt to “sell” the jury on “Riddo.” He and his blond secretary, Ruth Cook, above, are shown as they appeared before their audiences in the Wesley Temple basement.

 
THEY BOUGHT IT: After three hours of deliberations, the Hennepin County District Court jury found James not guilty of practicing healing without a license.
 
 
Although it is somewhat less disturbing than the photo above, this one didn't make the paper. Say, what was going on between these two?

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT